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Frugal Foodie Ideas | Don't Ever Look Back

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Frugal Foodie Ideas

Frugal Foodie Ideas

This is a guest post by Liv of The World is Waiting. Liv has travelled a lot over the years and has a passion for writing and blogging. Having worked as a scuba diving instructor, underwater photographer and videographer Liv enjoys being behind a camera too. All the writing and photos appearing on The World is Waiting are the culmination of her efforts over the years, unless otherwise specified.

When trying hard to save there are lots of things that it is possible to cut back on or even not buy at all; food is just the same. Now, obviously, I’m not suggesting savers stop eating altogether, but it is important to be clever in the way you do it. Food is an everyday expense, so a saving here may look small each time it is made, but in the long-term will be significant.

Eating Money

Avoid restaurants! One expensive dinner could cost the same as an entire week's worth of food at home.

Firstly, much as it pains me to say it, it is imperative to avoid restaurants. The money spent on one meal in a restaurant could provide dinner at home for a week. It’s that simple. Don’t sit at home alone though. If eating out is a large part of your social life and time spent with friends, why not get into the habit of cooking for and eating at each others homes?

Assuming you are eating at home, you will need to go food shopping. If you shop in a supermarket, sign up for its loyalty scheme and make an effort to only shop there. This is a simple way to earn money-off points and coupons (yes, you may feel like you’re turning into your Gran, but try to focus on your end goal!) If you can pay with a ‘rewards’ credit card, that is even better (as long as you pay it off in full each month). Buying the supermarkets own products rather than branded goods is cheaper. If you only need fresh food items a market is often cheaper still.

So, once the food is bought, what are you actually going to eat while you’re being frugal? Here are a few suggestions of food that is cheap and easy to cook. They are also handy suggestions to have in mind as a good way to use up leftovers. Do not assume that being frugal about food has to be boring. The beauty of these options is their flexibility. You can be really creative with them and if you find yourself longing for the restaurants, splash out on a few indulgent ingredients. There is no need to feel guilty; it will be far cheaper than succumbing to the restaurant urge.


Who doesn’t like pizza? Making your own pizza is fantastic because you design it yourself, with all the bits you love and without the bits you don’t. It’s also cheaper. This is a no-brainer. Add your favourite toppings (super frugal-types will be using a bit of cheese and some leftovers) Easy.


Dry pasta from the dry goods section is cheap and if stored correctly, keeps for ages. If you feel like you need a treat, pasta is also very easy to make indulgent for only a moderate cost. The options are endless.


Otherwise known as a Spanish omelette, tortilla is another flexible option. You can have it plain or add pretty much anything that takes your fancy. It can also be served hot or cold, so is ideal as a sandwich alternative if you are taking packed lunches to work.


Stirfrys are so easy and again, you can include all your favourite things or use up leftovers.

Roast Chicken

After alcohol and the pre-packed ready meals, meat is one of the priciest items on the shopping list. A chicken however can often be bought for a reasonable price, so to save your frugality turning you vegetarian, try a basic roast chicken recipe.

Fruit FoolFruit Fool

I love a good dessert and fools are very simple to make (yoghurt, cream and pureed fruit) so can’t go wrong, I promise. Here are some fool recipes:


These are just a few suggestions. They are all very easy to prepare, but also involve basic ingredients that are easily and cheaply sourced all over the world (or common leftovers). They are also very flexible, so can be added to and adjusted to individual tastes.

Hope you have fun making them and enjoy eating them while saving the pennies!

How do you save money on food? Answer the question on our Facebook page or in the comments below.

Flickr Photos: Ramen Kurisu, tnarikSmabs Sputzer


  1. Posted February 8, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    I must say my wife is a great cook, so saving money on food was never a problem for us 🙂 – dinner at home? sounds great!
    Don’t get me wrong, we love having lunch / dinner at the restaurant, but, as you said before, we’re focusing on our end goal: less money spent in a restaurant equals a longer vacation break for us!
    Adrian B. recently posted..Dolmabahce Palace- Istanbul

  2. Posted February 9, 2011 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Hi Adrian – you’re so right. It’s just having the willpower in between trips to focus on the end goal that’s tricky isn’t it?!
    Liv recently posted..A day in Old Havana

  3. Posted February 9, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    This is a great article! When we travel we tend to get sucked into restaurants because we want to sample the cuisine but we know that we are going to have to cut back, maybe go out for one lunch and one dinner for example and do the rest of the cooking at the hostel!

    What great suggestions, I had never heard of a ‘fruit fool’ before but it sounds sooo tasty! I will definitely give it a try!
    Annie recently posted..I am like soo not THAT girl!

  4. Posted February 9, 2011 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Beans and rice! We throw that in a torilla w/ some cheese and whatever veggies we have around, and voila. Yummy and cheap and filling. 🙂

    Mmm, those fruit fool recipes also look awesome…..

  5. Posted February 9, 2011 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Hi Annie
    When I wrote this I was focusing on saving ahead of travelling, but you’re right, cooking on the road would stretch the funds even further!
    fools are tasty – especially on a hot summer day as fools are cool and creamy with a great fresh taste because of the fruit…hmmm.
    Liv recently posted..10 Free Apps to download before you go

  6. Posted February 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Yumm! Tortilla, what a great option!

  7. Posted February 9, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Great tips. I must admit our weakness is eating out. I don’t even want to think about how much more money we’d have saved towards our RTW if we never ate out. Our cheap go-to meal at home is black beans, eggs, salsa and avocado mixed up in a bowl. Its good and pretty darn cheap. Only thing missing is a margarita!
    Kim recently posted..Save an Extra 10K a Year

  8. Posted February 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Restaurants are the anti-money saving culprit, unfortunately. Luckily, in Asia, a filling meal out can be quite cheap if you eat locally! Another good money saving tip is to shop in the local markets. The produce tends to be fresher too!
    Connie recently posted..How I Became a Gambling Addict in Macao

  9. Posted February 9, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Some great responses here!

    @Adrian – great point of view, one night at a restaurant often costs what a week of home-cooked meals does!

    @Annie – you definitely have to try the local cuisine when you’re traveling but if you’re eating out 3 meals a day (like a lot of tourists do), then you’re probably throwing away money.

    @Christy – great easy recipe, thanks for sharing! Beans have never really taken off here in Australia as an every day food item but we may have to find some so we can make this over our last few months here.

    @Sofia – It does look yum, we’re going to give this a try in our work lunches next week! Any suggestions on what else to put in it?

    @Kim – you’ll love a post we’re gonna publish next week, it’ll make you weigh up the cost of eating out against what you can do on the road. It really is a great way to trick your mind into eating at home!

    @Connie – we can’t wait to get over to Asia and eat some street food, not only is it cheap but it’s also some of the best food in the world!

  10. Posted February 9, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    I had no idea that fools would be such a ‘new’ thing to everyone! Must be a very British thing!
    Liv recently posted..Departure Countdown Checklist

    • Posted February 9, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      Haha yeah we hadn’t heard of them until this post but that’s a good thing – we’re all for introducing new ideas to our readers! 🙂

  11. Posted February 10, 2011 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Pizza, stir fry, tortilla wraps. Sounds like my typical week’s menu. Great suggestions.
    Charles McCool recently posted..McCool Travel Tips from Travel Experts- David Lee- GoBackpackingcom and MedellinLivingcom

  12. Posted February 10, 2011 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Stir-fry is my way of cooking, though I call it “Stuff in pan”. It is nice to just toss stuff into a pan and cook until hungry enough to eat it.
    Andrew recently posted..Dr Who in Glasgow

  13. Posted February 10, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Cooking at home is so rewarding. It really helps me with my diet too, because I know exactly what I’m putting in my meals. Saving money is also a plus!
    Sheryll recently posted..I’m Worth More Than 50 a Week

  14. Posted February 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I am super glad that Shaun enjoys my cooking. Not only does he take leftovers to work (causing everyone to be jealous), but definitely helps when it comes to saving cash.

    As for what we cook, it really depends. I always cook enough for leftovers. Mexico food always yields a crap ton. Enchiladas are leftovers for days, a big pot of caldo de res, or pozole. YUM!
    Erica recently posted..Not a Vacation

  15. Posted February 12, 2011 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Hi Guys!

    @Charles – You sound like you have the art of not spending frivolously on food mastered!

    @Andrew – You sure know how to sell a stir-fry!

    @Sheryll – I know what you mean about wanting to know what is in your food. Prepared meals have so much sugar and salt in them. It is far healthier to cook for yourself.

    @Erica – Why didn’t I mention taking leftovers to work in the post? I actually do that myself!
    Liv recently posted..Visit the Heart of England- The pub

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